Public submissions now open for draft planning bills

By Greg Bell

The draft planning bills have been released for public consultation on September 10. Queenslanders are being urged by their state government to have their say on how they want to boost the economy.

The draft bills are being used to help simplify and improve assessment procedures so that they become more streamlined and user-friendly.

People looking for industrial leasing in the Gold Coast should welcome this as it could increase developers' activity if it is successful.

In addition to this, the Queensland government is continuing its commitment to make sure local councils and communities are the centre of planning decisions.

CCIQ support

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) enthusiastically supports the public consultation and planning changes.

"At the core of this discussion is that planning issues are of fundamental importance to Queensland's economic wellbeing," said CCIQ director of advocacy Nick Behrens.

The plan is for the bill to help remove bureaucratic red tape by increasing accountability and transparency in the system, helping to make it one of the best in Australia.

This is to address the current problems that are restricting local businesses. At the moment, the necessary planning processes are holding up or preventing certain projects from taking place, so an update to these should help fuel more commercial property in places like Surfers Paradise.

Mr Behrens believes that the current Queensland planning laws have failed to change in accordance with the state's economy, so these amendments should help bolster growth in areas all over the state.

"The previous LNP government announced a thorough review of the Sustainable Planning Act. This was in response to growing concerns from stakeholders that the act was long, complex and unresponsive, resulting in an over-regulated system that stifled, instead of facilitated, development," said Mr Behrens.

Additional Commonwealth Games impact

These improved regulations should help with developments, especially in the Gold Coast, which has been chosen as the venue for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Venues will also be used in Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville as well, so a state-wide change of policy is just what is needed.

It would be likely that investors will be looking for commercial property for sale in Surfers Paradise in anticipation of these games, due to retailers wanting to capitalise on the boost of tourism numbers.

The Queensland government is committed to the improvement of its region as it has set aside $59.4million in its budget for these reforms. It has already completed various talks with communities, local councils and industries.

What about the old bill?

This will hopefully be different to the previous government's review, which lapsed and was not passed through. The LNP's Planning and Development Bill 2014 that was the result of the review has been reintroduced by the Opposition spokesman for planning Tim Nicholls for parliamentary consideration.

The new final planning bill, which will be tabled by deputy premier and minister for infrastructure, local government and planning Jackie Trad, will be considered at the same time.

The CCIQ hopes that these new laws will provide one blanket system to be applied across the whole state so that there is increased consistency for businesses, especially those who operate in multiple council jurisdictions. 

It also supports Ms Trad's remarks about increasing transparency. This is crucial for developers as they "need to be aware of the complexity and number of different approvals that are required by government", as said by the CCIQ. Hopefully, if this is achieved, developers will be able to build more commercial property in areas like the Gold Coast and increase the amount of retail leasing available.

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